Morning Matchmaker: Can we get Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic for real this time?
JUN 02, 2014 8:00a ET
The UFC Fight Night main event lasted 35 seconds. Stipe Miocic made very quick work of Fabio Maldonado in Sao Paulo and that really wasn't a huge surprise.
Meanwhile, out in Berlin, Gegard Mousasi choked out Mark Munoz in the first round and C.B. Dollaway outpointed Francis Carmont.
It was a busy Saturday in the UFC. Here's what should be next for the significant competitors:
Anything less than what Miocic did -- a TKO of Fabio Maldonado in a cool 35 seconds -- would have been a disappointment. That's what a top-10 heavyweight should do against a blown up light heavyweight who really isn't very good at 205 either. The victory does little to raise Miocic's stock, but it doesn't drop it either. That's the best he could ask for in a tough situation.
Who's next: Junior dos Santos
This is the fight that was supposed to happen and should still happen. Dos Santos shouldn’t take too long to get back from a broken hand and Miocic didn’t even break a sweat against Maldonado. Maybe the UFC could put this together before the end of the summer. The co-main event of UFC 176 or 177, perhaps?
Performances like that against Mark Munoz is what everyone always hopes for from Mousasi, yet never seems to receive. Truthfully, the Dutchman looked pretty good against Lyoto Machida in January, too. And Machida is an incredibly tough matchup. There shouldn’t be anyone doubting Mousasi's stature as a top-10 middleweight now.
Who's next: Luke Rockhold
There is no shortage of interesting middleweight contenders in the UFC. Lyoto Machida is fighting Chris Weidman for the belt and Vitor Belfort is now facing Chael Sonnen, but Rockhold, Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza are all unbooked. Mousasi and Rockhold would make for a very interesting striking battle. And both are also slick on the ground. That's really an intriguing technical battle all around.
There are some people calling for Munoz's retirement, but that seems silly. Getting finished by Lyoto Machida and now Gegard Mousasi doesn't say much for Munoz's title hopes, but he can still hang with most guys in the top 15. Now, if he loses badly to someone below that stature, maybe we can revisit the situation.
Who's next: Brad Tavares
What happens when you get crushed by two of the best contenders in the division? You fall into gatekeeper status. That's where Munoz is now and at 36 he'll need a couple of wins or more to get out of it. Tavares would make sense, because he's also coming off a loss (to Yoel Romero) and trying to improve his standing in the division. Tavares, though, is younger with more upside. And those are the guys gatekeepers face.
We're only now seeing the Dollaway that many people expected back when he was on The Ultimate Fighter in 2008, losing to Amir Sadollah in the finals. Take away a terrible decision loss to Tim Boetsch (Dollaway should have won) and Dollaway would have five straight wins right now in a pretty loaded middleweight division. He's ready for a contender fight, for sure.
Who's next: Yoel Romero
Alright, C.B. You've proven you can grind out guys like Carmont and Boetsch. Now, let's see if you can do it against one of the most decorated wrestlers ever. Romero and Dollaway are both relative newcomers to the contender discussion. They should sort things out among themselves. Can Romero throw around Dollaway like he did Brad Tavares? It'll be interesting to find out.
Why isn't Carmont better? He's extremely physically gifted, can grapple and strike on a better-than-average level and comes from one of the best training camps in the world (Tristar Gym). Is it something mental with the Frenchman? It's hard to say, but he had moments against Dollaway, someone he really should have beaten. He was just outwrestled.
Who's next: Tim Boetsch
After winning six straight and being one of the hottest names coming out of Tristar, Carmont has now dropped two in a row. Losing to Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is one thing, but falling to Dollaway was a disappointment. Carmont is not young. He's 32 and basically out of title contention at the moment. He could use a win over a sturdy veteran with a name and that's Boetsch. The loser of that bout would achieve serious gatekeeper status -- or worse.
Instead of trying to finish an opponent clearly in over his head, Maia coasted to a unanimous decision victory over Alexander Yakovlev. Maia dropped Yakovlev with a punch, the first time he's done that to anyone in his UFC career, and mounted him repeatedly. Yet, he couldn't finish the fight. That doesn't bode well for the future.
Who's next: Ryan LaFlare
Maia was supposed to fight Mike Pierce on Saturday until Pierce broke his hand and had to pull out. Nothing the Brazilian did against Yakovlev makes you think he's ready to fight a contender again, so he could be reduced to gatekeeper status. That’s where LaFlare comes in. Beating Maia would be a nice way to break into the welterweight elite.
Lost in the marathon day was how good Alcantara looked in finishing Vaughan Lee by TKO in 25 seconds on the Berlin card. Alcantara is still one of the very best bantamweights in the world. He only has two losses in his last 19 fights.
Who's next: Johnny Eduardo
Eduardo looked very good in knocking out perennial 135-pound contender Eddie Wineland. How well will he do against someone who can mix things up standing and grappling like Alcantara? We should find out.